WhatsApp announces face and fingerprint unlocking for desktop and web app

WhatsApp has announced new security features for its web and desktop versions that make it easier for users to login securely. WhatsApp Web and desktop now supports both face and fingerprint unlocking when linking devices. WhatsApp does note that it never sees your face or fingerprint data.

The new biometric options are available in the latest version of the application, and there's a full instruction sheet on how to activate the feature. Users will need to open the app on the phone and tap more options on Android devices or go to settings on the iPhone. Android users can then click Link A Device and follow the on-screen instructions to activate biometric authentication if their phone supports those features.

iPhone users can tap Link a Device and then tap okay, and users on iOS 14 or higher can use Touch ID or Face ID to unlock. Users can also select the Keep me signed in option on the QR screen of the computer or Portal to stay logged in on the device and use their phone to scan the QR code on their computer.

WhatsApp says that authentication is handled by the device operating system and uses biometrics stored there. It's unable to access any biometric information stored by the device operating system. WhatsApp has seen large numbers of users leave the app in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp opted to push back a controversial privacy policy change that delayed the date by which users had to agree to new terms. According to WhatsApp, it was delaying the change due to misinformation floating around over how it would share data with Facebook. The new privacy policy does require users to consent to some data being passed to Facebook.